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Bournvita, other brands to lose ‘health drink’ status

Apr 14,2024

The government has told ecommerce websites that Bournvita and other beverages should not be called health drinks because the category isn’t defined in the country’s food laws.

“All ecommerce companies/portals are hereby advised to remove drink/beverages including Bournvita from the category of ‘health drinks’ from their sites/portals,” the commerce and industry ministry said in a notification.

Cadbury Bournvita, the country’s most popular malted drink, had found itself in a controversy last year after a social media influencer alleged that the drink has high sugar content.

Mondelez India, which owns Bournvita, sent a legal notice to the influencer, forcing him to take down the video. But the issue snowballed into a controversy, and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) asked the brand to withdraw all misleading packaging, advertising, and labels.

Earlier this month, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) instructed ecommerce portals against labelling dairy-based or malt-based beverages as ‘health drinks’.

The latest directive from the commerce and industry ministry has come after an inquiry by NCPCR — a statutory body constituted under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005. It “concluded that there is no ‘health drink’ defined under FSS Act 2006, rules and regulations as submitted by FSSAI and Mondelez India Food Pvt Ltd”, as per the notification dated April 10.

“This might be the effect of the (Baba) Ramdev judgment where Patanjali was named by the court for misleading consumers,” said Santosh Desai, managing director of brand consulting firm Futurebrands Consulting.

There could be an effort to widen the net and try and take action against anything that the government thinks misleading,” he said. In the latter half of the past decade there has been a clear shift towards natural, chemical free food in the market, according to a report by Wazir Advisors.

“Consumers, owing to their demanding lifestyles have also gravitated towards functional foods to supplement their normal nutrition intake,” the report said. As a result, the packaged health and wellness food and beverage market in India is expected to touch Rs 2,50,000 crore by 2026, it added. The demand for these products, which was earlier largely concentrated in the metros and big cities, is expected to penetrate down deeper into tier II cities as well, the report said.

Source: Economic Times

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